Christmas aid group rejects criticism


THE ORGANISERS of the Operation Christmas Child campaign have rejected criticism of the project by a teacher writing in the latest edition of the INTO's InTouchmonthly journal.

Samaritan's Purse (Ireland) said it would be writing to all primary schools participating in the project to ensure there was no confusion about its work.

The article, by Katherine Quirke, highlighted the organisation's evangelical roots and claimed it was linking the evangelism of children with aid distribution. Samaritan's Purse is an international organisation with offices in countries including the US, Canada, Australia and in Europe.

Its Operation Christmas Child project involves children filling shoe boxes with gifts, school supplies, small items of clothing and toiletries. The boxes are distributed to children in eastern Europe and Africa for Christmas.

Carol Hennessey, manager of the Irish project, said more than 300,000 shoe boxes were collected in Ireland last Christmas and more than 2,500 Irish primary schools had taken part.

The InToucharticle highlighted the fact that the Samaritan's Purse president was evangelical preacher Franklin Graham who has generated controversy in the past with negative remarks about Islam and Hinduism.

Ms Hennessey said it had never made any secret of the fact that it was a Christian organisation.